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Financial Literacy

Diary of a working mother: Let us talk about sex and abstinence

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Christmas

I recently met Nkolika face to face. She was a stern looking woman of slight built and she rarely wore a smile. She lived around my neighbourhood and I met her voice before I met her. She would usually scream at the top of her voice in her usual manner of attempting to parent two young girls that lived with her. With Nkolika, you had an extra layer of alarm clock as you are certain she will wake you up at exactly 5am each day with her daily screams at her girls.

I wondered if she ever found time to relax, have sex and powder her nose. One morning, I overslept and Nkolika was to be blamed. I had gotten accustomed to being woken up by her daily screams and it happened that the screams stopped. I was as worried as I was relieved. I had to find out what went wrong or what went right as I was quite uncertain at the time.

I went to Nkolika’s house, tapped lightly at the door quite unsure if my knock would be met by a loud scream. I waited for what seemed like forever and suddenly, the door swung open. Nkolika in her screaming majesty stood before me, a vision in red with a truly sad look. I instantly wanted to hug her to take away the look on her face but while I was still trying to wrap the thoughts in my head, she spoke in the softest voice ever, “hello, can I help you?”

I quickly introduced myself as the new neighbour whilst not expecting to be let into the house but Nkolika suddenly beamed with excitement as she told me to please come in. We made small chit-chat and I quickly took in the change in her demeanour and wondered if she ever had visitors. I asked about her girls and in an instant, the sad and forlorn look I had earlier glimpsed was back on her face. She told me that she had sent them back to their parents. Not attempting to invade her space, I was surprised when she went ahead to tell me the finer details of what had transpired.

She was quite angry when she got to the part about her teenage girls having boyfriends right under her nose. She wondered what the world was turning into. I allowed her to finish and in a rather soft voice, asked if she ever considered teaching them ‘abstinence plus’ as opposed to simply assuming that her girls will forever be perfect. She was a bit taken aback and asked me what I meant by abstinence plus.

That was the green light I was looking for and I went into full swing as I walked her through the entire concept. Nkolika kept quiet all through my talk but I could see the disapproval gleaming through her shiny wig. When I was done, she simply asked me that so I meant she should have called her girls, sat them down and encouraged them to be promiscuous and use condoms while at it?

Though her response seemed quite elementary but I believe that Nkolika is not alone in this line of reaction. I also had this reservation about the abstinence plus concept when I first heard about it in a tiny cold office in Mississippi. All my christian ideals and values came springing to the fore and defending my mind from what I then considered, evil.

I have a teenage son and a soon to be teenage daughter and being fully aware of the dangers of withholding information from children of today, I advocate that frank conversations about sex and sexuality be brought to the table. I encourage parents to please intentionally teach their teenage child both abstinence and abstinence plus. The saying, ‘If you no fit hold body, use condom’, is quite apt.

We should come to terms with current realities and understand that what our own parents told us about sex and sexuality are too silly to be embraced by a child of today with technology infused in his/her DNA. The fear factor is no longer a currency and no, when a boy calls a girl’s name, she will not suddenly find herself, pregnant. As we are a culture steeped in religion and fear, we can teach our children the right things and also pray that in our absence, God will direct them on the path that they should go.

Also of immense importance is the teaching of the actual name of body parts to the smallest children. We should come together as parents and guardians and arrive at a consensus to discard the usage of such terms as ‘wee-wee’ and ‘bom-bom’ as opposed to using the actual terms. It is also important that we teach children as early as possible who their uncles and aunties are as opposed to generalising such terms thereby expanding the family tree beyond reckoning.

Any other individual that is not qualified to be balled uncle and aunty should simply be respectfully referred to as either sir or ma, as the case may be.

I genuinely celebrate you for joining me on this weekly journey and if you are new to the fun, please click here to enjoy the prior takes.

Blossom is a personal branding enthusiast and has a day job at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation where she provides Technical Advisory on Media and Strategic Communication to the Honorable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources. During an academic leave in 2014, she founded Digital Media Development Initiative, focused on advancing use of digital media for sustainable development.

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Personal Finance

5C’s of creditworthiness: What lenders, Investors look for in a business plan

Business owners need to be aware of the criteria lenders and investors use when evaluating the creditworthiness of entrepreneurs seeking financing.

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Five things to consider before securing a loan

Banks usually are not a new venture’s sole source of capital because a bank’s return is limited by the interest rate it negotiates, but its risk could be the entire amount of the loan if the new business fails. Once a business is operational and has an established financial track record, banks become a regular source of financing.

For this reason, the small business owner needs to be aware of the criteria lenders and investors use when evaluating the creditworthiness of entrepreneurs seeking financing.

Will the business that an entrepreneur actually creates look exactly like the company described in the business plan? Of course, not.

The real value in preparing a business plan is not so much in the finished document itself but in the process it goes through – a process in which the entrepreneur learns how to compete successfully in the marketplace. In addition, a solid plan is essential to raising the capital needed to start a business; lenders and investors demand it.

Lenders and investors refer to these criteria as the five C’s of credit.

READ: 5 ways to raise funding for your business

1. Capital: A small business must have a stable income base before any lender is willing to grant a loan. Otherwise, the lender would not be making, in effect, a capital investment in the business. Most banks refuse to make loans that are capital investment because the potential for return on the investment is limited strictly on the interest on the loan, and the potential loss would probably exceed the reward. In addition, the most common reasons that banks give for rejecting small business loan applications are undercapitalization or too much debt. Banks expect a small company to have an equity base investment by the owner(s) that will help support the venture during times of financial strain, which are common during the start-up and growth phases of a business. Lenders and investors see capital as a risk-sharing strategy with entrepreneurs.

2. Capacity: A synonym for capital is cash flow. Lenders and investors must be convinced of the firm’s ability to meet its regular financial obligation and to repay loans, and that takes cash. More small businesses fail from lack of cash than from lack of profit. It is possible for a company to be showing a profit and still have no cash – that is, to be bankrupt. Lenders expect small businesses to pass the test of liquidity, especially for short term loans. Potential lenders and investors examine closely a small company’s cash flow position to decide whether it has the capacity necessary to survive until it can sustain itself.

READ: How to scale as a small business on a budget

3. Collateral: Collateral includes any asset an entrepreneur pledges to a lender as security for repayment of a loan. If the company defaults on a loan, the lender has the right to sell the collateral and use the proceeds to satisfy the loan. Typically, banks make much unsecured loans (those not backed up by collateral) to business start-ups. Bankers view the entrepreneurs’ willingness to pledge collateral (personal or business assets) as an indication of their dedication to making the venture a success. A sound business plan can improve a banker’s attitude towards venture.

4. Character: Before extending a loan or making an investment in a small business, lenders and investors must be satisfied with an entrepreneur’s character. The evaluation of character frequently is based on intangible factors such as honesty, integrity, competence, polish, determination, intelligence, and ability. Although the qualities judged are abstract, this evaluation plays a critical role in the decision to put money into a business or not.

READ: 7 Ways to pay for your higher education

5. Conditions: The conditions surrounding a funding request also affects an entrepreneur’s chances of receiving financing. Lenders and investors consider factors relating to a business’ operation such as potential growth in the market, competition, location, strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Another important condition influencing the banks is the shape of the overall economy, including interest rate levels, inflation rate, and demand for money. Although these factors are beyond an entrepreneur’s control, they still are an important component in a banker’s decision.

The higher a smaller business scores on the five C’s, the greater its chances of receiving a loan.

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Written by Chukwuma Aguwa

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Personal Finance

Don’t be fooled by COVID-related scams

Always consult the institution in charge of health-related matters to confirm any fishy information you come across.

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The nature of and the manifestation of the Covid-19 disease is such that there’s only a little time available to remedy the situation before it gets chronic. Although the infection begins by exhibiting mild symptoms, if you do nothing in a short time, it could lead to death in a matter of days.

This whole picture has caused many to become desperate about Covid-related issues, launching into panic mode at the sight of any information. As a result, such people are not far away from falling for fraudsters.

With the different kinds of news flying around, you mustn’t be fooled by Covid-related scams.

The Coronavirus threatens the health of millions of people around the world daily, also killing thousands along the way. To curb the spread and remedy the situation, bodies like the CDC, WHO, and every country’s local health organisation like the NCDC, frequently circulate information around communities. However, it has also led to fraudsters taking advantage to provide fake news, and even asking for donations.

Each day, there seems to be a new account or NGO asking for donations into the health sector, and though some are legit, many are just fraudsters posing to take advantage of innocent citizens. So far, numerous complaints about scams have been recorded, especially with people who are looking to support the health cause in any way they can.

READ: Africa to spend $9 billion on Covid-19 vaccine, access to supply is big problem

Channels used for COVID-related scams 

There are three major ways scammers take advantage of the haziness of the situation to dupe people. To start with, they appeal to the emotions of humans, who see the high death toll and suffering. As a result of what is happening, people have been willing to donate funds for medical supplies, isolation centres, and financial compensation for medical workers.

Scammers take advantage of this by posing as charity organisations and solicit for funds. Most times, as soon as their target is met, they clear their footprint without leaving a trace behind.

Another way they scam people is by manufacturing and selling fake or low-quality health products. Everyone wants to get their hands on a cure, or something that can at least protect them from the virus, and scammers are meeting their needs by providing just that.

READ: China joins WHO vaccine programme as it fills huge gap left by United States

The World Health Organization currently approves only one vaccine, and any other thing outside it is outrightly fake or just a supplement that will help your body. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is clinically tested and approved to work. Be sure to not throw your money in the wind by purchasing some of these fake drugs around.

Lastly, scammers create systems to extract a patient’s personal information, thereby having access to the person’s true identity. It could be in the simple form of opening a registration portal where you supply all your details.

Therefore, only give information to approved bodies and not any random online site that appears legit. These fraudulent individuals can do a lot of damage to your identity. Stay vigilant, only communicate with approved bodies, and always ask questions if you are not sure or suspect foul play.

The place of electronics in COVID-related scams

These fraudsters usually reach out to you through the digital sphere. Hence, watch out for cold calls, text messages, or emails requesting donations to certain bodies. The best way to confirm the legitimacy of such a message is to visit the organisation’s official website in a different browser. Never follow the link in the mail or text directly, as it can be easily embedded with spyware. Therefore, a single click could see them extract all your personal information, including bank details.

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Also, please stay away from those who claim to have a cure, and accompany it with testimonies of people who have used it. They are low graders desperate for your money. Vet them by searching online and see what people are saying. In all, always look out for suspicious messages, and opt out if you are sceptical.

In a nutshell, you should not believe any cure, vaccine or supplement that the World Health Organization does not approve of.

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Conclusion

The government or legit health institutions do not cold call citizens to request donations or coerce them into making one. If you receive a call out of the blues, chances are it’s a scam, which is why they mostly try to hurry you to donate before you realise it. Always consult the institution in charge of health-related matters to confirm any fishy information you come across.

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